MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With freshman Derek Culver slated to play, No. 13 West Virginia expects to have its full allotment of forwards in Friday’s season opener against Buffalo.
Whether point guard Beetle Bolden plays remains a gametime decision.
“Derek is fine,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “Derek has actually had some pretty good practices. Beetle is day-by-day. He’s got a lot of courage. We’ll see after practice [if he can play]. After [practice], hopefully so.”
Junior center Sagaba Konate has been dealing with a sore knee but is expected to be ready.
Culver and Bolden sat out last week’s exhibition loss against Penn State; Bolden because he’s dealing with stretched ligaments in his hand and Culver because he wasn’t giving his best efforts in practice. Without them, the Mountaineers were outrebounded and turned the ball over 16 times, not exactly what you’d expect from team picked to contend for the Big 12 title.
“I was kind of glad what happened, happened,” Huggins said. “It kind of brought us back down to earth. We got a whole bunch of kids who are like, ‘Wow, we’re No. 13 in the country and people say we’re a dark horse to go to the Final Four.’ They read all of that crap and they believe it.”
The Bulls (1-0) made believers out of Arizona in the 2017 NCAA tournament. Buffalo finished 27-9 and returns its top three starters two key reserves.
Senior 6-8 forward Nick Perkins scored 16 points and added nine rebounds in Buffalo’s 82-67 season-opening win against St. Francis (Pa.).
“If you know who our coaches are, we’re very familiar with what they did to Arizona,” West Virginia freshman guard Jordan McCabe said. “That’s been brought up multiple times and will continue to be brought up until game time.
“They’re a dangerous team. You can’t look at them as some mid-major team coming in here. Forget about that stuff. They have a lot of players returning that beat Arizona.”